Is it a cake or a pie? Well it is cake batter that is baked in a pie tin – hence PiKe (I liked this name better than any other alternative combinations)! I bought some nectarines last week. I’m a sucker for that sweet juicy “makes me think of summer” flavor. I love them plain, in pies and cakes, salads and in main dishes like with pork chops or grilled steak. But this is not about a main, this is about a dessert! It does seem like I’m baking a lot (really not sure there is such a thing as baking too much for me), but this is a “nice to do” recipe for end of season fruits. I used nectarines and plums – both ripe and bursting with sweetness. I did cut back on the sugar for this reason (notes below). I also used a deep dish non-stick pie plate to bake this “pike”.

It doesn’t have a lot of flour in it so I knew it would fit into the pie plate. I really liked the look of the finished product and the arranged fruit in the pie plate was also stunning. This recipe originally called for apples (4 cups if you want to try it with apples), but as I said, I wanted nectarines and plums. I also added a few gooseberries into the mix. You get the idea that when I bake – I’m quite loose with the embellishments, and like to try mixing flavors, textures and tastes. The structure of the cake is almost always true to form – after all, baking is a science, so I try not to mess around with the proportions of wet to dry ingredients and the leavening agents. You will notice the sides of the cake have absorbed the excess caramel from the baking.  Delicious! 

The nectarines and plums were super juicy so I put them in a colander to drain. Don’t pile them in, but really just lay them cut side down so the juices can run out. My pie plate is non-stick and quite heavy so it could go on the stove top as my butter and sugar combined. I did have it on low and I have done this many times before and my pan doesn’t seem to show any sign of wear and tear from the process. You don’t get the intense caramel taste with a non-stick and when you start, it looks like it won’t combine, but when you bake it, it all works well! But as I said, it is a heavy bottomed pan. I’m presenting the recipe as is but note my variations in italics and please do try and bake this in a pie plate. So much nicer to look at, cut and serve. I’m also including variation pictures – one with just peaches and grape jelly, and the other with those most magnificent of orbs – yes, I’m talking Concorde Grapes, added to the cake. As always – enjoy!

6 tablespoons Churn 84
4 cups – cut in sixths or eighths, nectarines and plums – combined quantity – original called for apples
¾ cup dark brown sugar – my fruit was sweet so I used ½ cup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, separated
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier plus a maximum of about 2 tbsp. of the juice from the draining nectarines. The original called for apple cider or apple brandy
¾ cup sifted cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a heavy nine-inch skillet or heavy bottomed deep dish pie plate
Remove from the heat and, using a fork to position the fruit, arrange in a pattern – or not – I recommend using a fork to avoid burns from the hot butter/brown sugar mixture
Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the arranged fruit
Excess pieces of fruit can just be placed on top of the other fruit in any fashion, they won’t be visible on the final product
Beat egg yolks until thick, gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until light and lemon colored
Stir in the Grand Marnier
Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and fold into the yolk mixture
Beat the egg whites until they hold peaks but are still creamy and fold them into the batter – note, the batter will be stiff and appear dry until you start folding in the whites, then it will become wonderfully loose again
Pour and spread the batter over the fruit in the pan
Bake 25 – 30 minutes – insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, it should come out clean
Place a flat plate on top of the pie tin and flip over. There should be no excess juices as the cake will have wonderfully absorbed the liquid caramel. But please be careful, hot caramel sugar, even a drop burns skin quite badly. Serve warm or at room temperature

Nectarine and Plum PiKe4

Nectarine and Concorde Grapes

Nectarine and Plum PiKe

Nectarine, Plum and Gooseberry Pike – waiting for batter!

Nectarine and Plum PiKe1

Another Variation – just Peaches with a jam center!


Nectarine and Plum PiKe5

Nectarine and Concorde Grape – waiting for batter!